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From Mangaka Dreams to VFX Realities: The Artistic Evolution of William Fiorentini

INTERVIEW
May 1, 2024
Interviewed by:
Mearg Taddese

Discover the inspiring journey of William Fiorentini, a seasoned Generalist known for his work at leading studios like Framestore, DNEG, and The Mill.

Delve into his career highlights, challenges, and creative insights in this captivating interview.

Welcome to an enlightening conversation with William Fiorentini, a seasoned Generalist crafting visual wonders From Framestore to DNEG to The Mill in London.

In this interview, we dive into the captivating journey of his career, exploring the early influences that sparked his creative flame, the challenges faced in the VFX trenches, and the secrets behind his favorite projects. William generously shares insights into his creative process, time management strategies, and personal growth as an artist.

To start, could you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is William Fiorentini, I am currently a Generalist. I have previous worked at Framestore, DNEG and The Mill.

Reflecting on your early years, could you share some memories from your childhood that influenced your career path?

Until I turn 15 I wanted to be a mangaka and create my own story, my first passion is drawing especially mangas characters so I wanted to create my scenarios based on different already read mangas. Then after that I started doing 3d introductions on YouTube and doing Call of Duty montages for like 2/3 years - but I was deeply inspired by Transformers and its visual effects. I always wanted to learn new things, if it's a new medium or a new software, I was just living my life as a school kid and doing drawing and 3d things on the side.

When it comes to igniting your creativity, what tends to spark your imagination? Where do you find your biggest sources of inspiration during the depths of a project?

I do find references and inspirations every where and doing the best projects I can, exploring different environments/biomes, concepts, lightings, etc. Usually Pinterest and Shotdeck are the best platforms I use to inspire myself.

Share with us a story of a particularly difficult or unexpected task you encountered while working on a project. How did you manage to navigate through it?

I think that was when I was at Framestore, I worked the show called Invasion and there was this alien/metallic room I had to model, texture and lookdev also doing lighting tests - I was modeling the asset from a good startup I had from Elpida Kyriakou and also a good lidar, the challenge was to match 1 to 1 the room from the set, from modeling to lookdev. It was quite challenging but this is the project I had the most fun at that time.

Take a moment to spotlight one of your cherished projects. Can you describe the creative process that shaped it and the unique qualities that make it stand out in your portfolio.

I rarely have a favorite project, but I do like the Street project not because of its composition but because of the process from start to finish, everything was based on a real life street from Tokyo and I really wanted to nail the look because everything is so much different, from the buildings to the markings on the roads to the buildings.The process is really straight forward - I extracted the model from an OSM map of the street and then I placed the buildings based on this layout, then the assembly came doing to rest. Everything was made procedurally except for the road because it required specific markings on specific areas so I wanted to do in Photoshop on a square texture. Lighting is just a sky and a sun with some cubes blocking some areas of the image to drive the eye towards the center of the frame.

Can you share your approach to managing your time effectively, both for work-related tasks and personal projects?

I organize myself quite safely I would say. My priority is work of course but I am waiting for renders I always have a personal project open on the side just in case. And right after work is done I directly jump on what I have to do if it's tutorial or personal project.

If you could go back in time, what are the things you wish you had learned earlier that could have altered your current trajectory for the better?

I think there is always the place and the time to learn new things, there is no wrong moment I believe. I have the chance to have thought about learning the right things at the time it was necessary for me to learn new software’s or workflows.

Who within your professional field serves as a source of inspiration or as a role model for you?

When I was at University (ESMA in Toulouse, France), I was and still am deeply inspired by the work of Clément Feuillet , Timothée Maron and Jacques Leyreloup, they taught me so many new things and so much that I can consider them as my mentor and friends - without them I wouldn't probably where I am currently at in my life/career. I was also inspired by Andrew Hodgon's techniques as a Modeler and of course his production work

What aspect of your work brings you the most joy or satisfaction?

Doing almost every aspect of a shot is what I like the most about being a Generalist.

What aspects of working in a big studio do you find distinct from your time in smaller studios?

I worked at Framestore as an Asset Generalist, then DNEG as Environment TD to The Mill being a Generalist. Well it was surprising and new at first but then everything went smoothly I guess, I am just happy to do the work I am passionate about.

Stepping back for a moment, what's your take on the role of AI in our industry? Are you apprehensive, enthusiastic, or neutral towards its impact?

I do not have any opinion on this honestly.

Thinking futuristically, what changes do you anticipate for the field of VFX over the next 10-15 years?

Having better deadlines.

As you navigate your personal development journey, what methods do you use to stimulate growth and expand your artistic skills?

Looking for new workflows, new process on how to do things a different way and looking for more concepts and new ideas to work from.

You're launching a course with us at Doublejump titled 'Epic Environments for Movies.' Can you share how it came about, your preparation journey.

Since it is more like a breakdown than a tutorial, I believe this one is made for the people that know a bit of Houdini - Because it is more like a 'how to' process, because there is no universal method on how to do things and I know some people asked me about my workflow and with that workshop I wanted to tell and show that everyone can do anything and everything by training their eye and by looking at references. I hope my teaching will be useful to the ones looking at the breakdown.

For artists interested in discovering your work and learning more about you, where can they follow your work?

Artstation or Instagram are the best platforms to reach out. Instagram: @williamfiorentini.vfx

As we conclude, do you have any final thoughts or words of wisdom to share with your fellow artists?

Don't hesitate to ask for feedback and Always look at references.

Best advises I can give to the people that wish to learn how to do proper environment art.

Interview done by: Mearg Taddese

Are you a studio who is hiring?

Send us your job opening to hello@doublejumpacademy.com and you will be added to the next job openings list.

Epic Environments for Movies

Welcome to the EPIC ENVIRONMENTS FOR MOVIES tutorial hosted by William Fiorentini, an Generalist at Industrial Light & Magic! Together, you'll dive into a world inspired by The Creator, exploring the basics of 3D environment design. Using an existing project breakdown, William will guide you through each step, leveraging industry-standard tools like Houdini and V-Ray to bring your ideas to life.

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I have worked with Urban in the Past on a workshop and with Corbin as FX supervisor during my time at ILP. They are both extremely creative, passionate and always put helping the people around them up to the for front. I couldn't imagine a better team of people to put together a school like DoubleJump. Always people and education first.

JURI BRYAN

Head of CG & Simulation MPC Adelaide

"DoubleJump Academy has an amazing amount of free workshops and high-end videos which we recommend for any Visual FX artists. And if you are a beginner, this needs to be the first resource to break into the CGI industry!"

Eddie Chew

Owner & Creative Director
Griffin Animation Studios

"William goes in depth into his workflow and approach he takes to creating large scale environments, u get to understand his thinking behind the why he does things not just the how. There is some comp tricks taught along the way in nuke as well that have been helpful to apply to my own projects to elevate them just that bit more even if environments isnt my main focus. Of course as well the huge community of DoubleJump is a bonus always ready to help when u need it with a bunch of friendly folks."

Sam Savage

Fx Artist/TD - Enrolled in: Epic Environments for Movies

SHELDON SCHWARTZ

This was done under - Unreal Engine Complete Automotive Masterclass

"Learning VFX can be a daunting task, especially when you’re not sure what sources and practices you can rely on and follow. Urban is a master of his craft and delivers high-end, quality content that you can trust to keep you on track in your professional development. I have greatly benefitted and grown as an artist from his invaluable industry knowledge, that often times can’t be found anywhere else. If you want to learn how to produce industry quality effects at the highest level you won’t want to miss anything from of Urban Bradesko."

Jesse Henning

Senior VFX Artist at Atomic Arcade

"Having worked with Urban for many years. I can strongly recommend engaging with DoubleJump. This team covers a wide range of skill-sets combined with their wide array of contacts in the Visual Effects Industry. They are striving to create a hub for beginners to experts alike. Equally strengthening various Studios toolsets and team members. In DoubleJump I entrust!"

Hudson Martins

CG Supervisor at Axis Studios

Luca Goury

This was done under - Unreal Engine Complete Automotive Masterclass